What to Do and Why Someone Calls You Saying That You Called Them (2023)

By Timothy Tibbetts

Did someone call you saying that you called them and you know you didn't? Here's why it's happening and what to do about it.

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Recently, while chatting with a friend, he received two calls from a caller saying that my friend called them. As we were sitting together, we knew he hadn't.

The first thing you need to know is that the person who called is using caller-id spoofing. Spoofing allows them to call people and trick the caller-id into showing any number they want. Spoofing is used for robocalls and other scams. You need to know that they're not using "your" phone number, but instead, they are randomly selecting a phone number often local to the area code they are calling. Using a local number works best because people are more likely to answer the phone if it's a local number.

Here are the simple do and don't rules we live by when we get a call from a phone number we don't recognize.

1: Don't Answer It

There's no point answering an unrecognized phone number, even if it's local. If someone who needs to reach you, the caller, if legitimate, can leave a voicemail or text message.

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2: Don't Call Back

Calling back a phone number to ask someone who didn't call you so you can ask them why they called you is pointless. We were surprised that people were angry that our friend "called them." Remember, this person is a victim too.

3: Don't Call Your Cell Provider

Your cell phone provider (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile) can't help you. They have no way of tracing these calls, and if they did, they couldn't possibly track them all.

4: Don't Report the Number

While reporting the number to one of the many phone number lookup websites or the FTC might seem like a good idea, it's not. Remember, if this is someone's phone number, they are a victim too.

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5: Do Google the Phone Number

You can Google the phone number by copying and pasting the phone number (with area code) into your web browser and search for the phone number. There are three ways you can quickly see if the number is valid or not.

1: If a business shows up, you'll often recognize it as someone you did business with. While not a guarantee, odds are they called you.

2: If the full phone number shows up repeatedly in the search results, read the comments on any one of the first results, and you'll typically find out it's a known scam number. This method is often not used for spoofing but other ways of obtaining valid, throw away phone numbers like Google Voice.

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3: If the full phone number does not appear in the search results then it's most likely a spoofed call. Other indicators could be some vague details including where they live, and who their phone provider is. Here is an example of the results from a number that called us. If you hopefully learned a little above then, you might recognize this as, most likely, someones legitimate phone number that's being spoofed or a newly acquired Google Voice number.

What to Do and Why Someone Calls You Saying That You Called Them (3)

6: Do Block the Phone Number

Since you don't know this person, there's no harm in blocking their number. At least this way, you don't have to see it anymore. We get a new phone every year and like to start fresh just in case.

7: Do Tell the Other Person to Block Your Phone Number

While we're at it, should someone call you, let them know about spoofing and tell them you're blocking their phone number and you suggest they do that same.

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Hopefully, this helps you understand spoofing and unrecognized phone calls. The only way we can stop, or at least slow this down, is to spread the word that you shouldn't answer or call back phone numbers you don't recognize.

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